meditation helped me find myself again

meditation helped me find myself again

If it's good enough for the Beatles, it's good enough for me.

227
views

It was hard. Two jobs, countless hours volunteering, a torn household, on top of being a full time student desperate to transfer to the school of my dreams. There were days when all I wanted to do was curl up in my bed and cry, even if I knew I'd only feel worse for it. No matter what I did, I felt like I didn't have the right outlet to get rid of all the negativity that plagued me, and nothing ever interested me enough. Going to gym often heightened my self esteem issues, and most days I got home too late to go for a run (one of my best, previous ways to relieve stress).

It wasn't until one of my good friends, a budding follower of femininity and frequent user of cannabis, suggested meditation. Not going to lie, I thought it was complete b.s. at first—all those images of crystals, candles, and Mandala tapestries didn't quite fit my idea of a good time. But, as my friend painstakingly explained, meditation doesn't have to be like that if you don't want it to be. Desperate to find a way to crawl out of the headspace I found myself in all too often, I looked more into it. What I found changed my life.

There are many ways to meditate. The oldest are Buddhist practices that span back centuries, calling for those doing it to sit in a lotus position, and follow written words from the Zazen teachings. The most popular kind of meditation today is called Mindfulness Meditation, which is even taught in schools and hospitals. Mindfulness is described as "...the practice of intentionally focusing on the present moment, accepting and non-judgmentally paying attention to the sensations, thoughts, and emotions that arise."

I have tried others, like metta meditation, which focuses on loving and kindness, as well as Transcendental Meditation, which is a rather flamboyant branch that the Beatles enjoyed, but I found myself continuing to return to Mindfulness Meditation, simply because it cleared my mind the best, and allowed me to feel more in the present with whatever I did.

The first time I tried it did not go well. I sat there for what felt like hours, utterly bored and also a little stressed that I wasn't 'doing it right'. It wasn't until I stumbled across this article that detailed all of the worries a new meditator might have that I felt myself becoming more at ease with the process.

I've been doing this for about 5 months and there's still so much to learn. There's comfort, I've found, in simply setting aside some time per day to take care of my mental health. No matter where I went, or who I was with—on a friend's floor on a lazy night in, or 3000 miles away in a tiny bedroom in the heart of Tokyo—meditation was something I had to look forward to after a long and stressful day.

I know that meditation is not for everyone. For some, it might seem scary and stressful to even try to turn the brain off, but I am a firm believer in trying anything at least once. In this case, it paid off. Meditation can help with establishing a healthier headspace, and the community is one of the friendliest and most helpful I've seen. The practice itself is hundreds of years old and there is a type and method of meditation out there for everyone.

Mindful.org is one of the best places start, in my personal opinion, and apps like Calm or Headspace can provide comfort in the form of guided meditation or music. It's easy to get lost in the never ending noise of our fast paced lives and feel so utterly lost and alone in one's worries, but finding the time for some mental healing is a great way to start the process of becoming a happier and healthier person.

Cover Image Credit:

Celine Nguyen

Popular Right Now

6 Huge Ways Your Life Changes After Escaping A Small Town

"Don't let small-town life make your life small."

56342
views

I've read a few articles on small towns and some statistics show that 20-30% of Americans live in small towns and 80% of the nation's population lived in one of the 350 combined metropolitan statistical areas.

After growing up in a small town myself, I think it can sometimes be difficult to be the person you want to be while trying to please all of your small-town fans. This is the first time in my life I've moved away from my small town with the intention to stay away for a very long time.

Why would I do something so silly?

Over the past two years, I realized how my hometown was stopping me from growing and accomplishing my dreams. Hanging out with friends generally became a gossip session because we were together so often and had nothing more to talk about. Neighbors knew where I was or who I was with. There was always some type of pressure to please everyone. There has always been someone to compare my life to or to be like.

Finally, I realized how detrimental this mentality was to my success.

After a series of events this year, I finally gathered the courage to pick up my life and move somewhere where I was a “no one." Somewhere where I could start fresh and never have to worry about pleasing someone down the street. I can vouch that this has been the biggest change in my life and the best possible move I could have made.

So what things actually change?

1. You find out who your true friends are.

This one will shock you. Remember that person you used to go to dinner with or spent countless nights finding a party or get together to go to with? That person magically fades away. The convenience of you being down the road is no longer an option and that person has now found a new acquaintance who has replaced you. Your genuine friends will continue to invite you to be a part of whatever and most will plan to spend time with you or come see you.

2. You no longer have a close-minded perception of everything.

I remember going to a grocery store and hearing the small town gossip from aisle to aisle. I remember how one-sided most issues were and if you weren't on board, your opinion was irrelevant. Now I can go to the store and not know a single person and have an opinion about anything I want and not have to worry about being shunned.

3. You suddenly turn into a mystery.

This one is great. People will start wondering where you went or what you've been up to. When I call my parents, I always get a good laugh from the conversations they've had with others who wonder what I'm up to. My favorite quote that relates to this is, “The less you reveal, the more people can wonder."

SEE ALSO: 8 Tiny Lies Every Young Adult Woman Has Told Their Best Friend

4.You are suddenly a nobody in your new community, and it's great.

I have a bad habit of trying to avoid people I know, so when I go into stores or do anything in public, I love being a nobody. I love being able to do all of my grocery shopping without being interrupted or asked about school.

5. You appreciate the small hometown things more.

I'm not going to lie, I cringe thinking about making a trip home, but that pizza place I had four times a week and those margaritas that my friends and I would gulp down when celebrating everything from a birthday to making it through a rough day at work suddenly become luxury items. You enjoy those country cruises and those salty fries so much more when you're away.

6. You start to find yourself.

I left this one for last because it's by far the most important thing that's happened to me. I got stuck thinking I needed to be married by 22 and have a family by the time I was 27. I no longer think this. I finally have a bucket list that involves so much more than beating my best friend in a keg stand at the annual town bonfire. I have found who I am through solely relying on me and the things that make me happy.

SEE ALSO: 8 Things You Realize After High School


Don't get me wrong, I love my hometown. It's made me who I am today, but even if it's only for six months, escape your small town. Get away and experience the world. Don't wait until it's too late. It's great out here!

Cover Image Credit: 10 Best Media

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

A College Student's Guide To Self-Care 101

A trend on the rise, self-care is becoming more and more prevalent.

105
views

My social media sites have been exploding with mentions of self-care. Tweets about the concept are ever on the rise and I think it is important to explore the concept. Self-care practices have become increasingly common because people are ever interested in tending to their emotional and physical wellbeing.

Unfortunately, with the popularization of the concept comes misconceptions. Self-care is not strictly about "treating yourself" and face masks. Additionally, it encompasses growth, reflection, and change. So, without further adieu, here are my top ten self-care tips!

1. Learn to be by yourself

This one is harder than people would think at first. Everyone's personality is different and, therefore, their affinity to being alone will differ as well. However, as I mentioned before, self-care is not only about physical practices. It is about eliminating toxicity from your life. This means eliminating bad habits, which is achieved through reflection and acknowledgment of the problematic habituation. Being by yourself allows you to set your own goals for yourself without any influence from outside factors. Additionally, the ability to be by yourself aids in establishing good self-esteem and ensures that the relationships you allow in your life are true and special rather than just to pass time.

2. Accept compliments

I don't know how this became normalized or why, but I despise the fact that girls have been taught to downplay their confidence. If someone offers a compliment, smile and accept it. Positive feelings towards yourself should be integral parts of your thought processes. Additionally, pay yourself compliments. They don't have to be said out loud but appreciate the beauty that is your body. It does so much for you, the least you could do is appreciate it every now and then.

3. Hold yourself accountable

Like I said earlier, part of self-care is eliminating bad habits. The tendency to attribute one's own failures and shortcomings to external forces is self-serving bias and those with good self-esteem are guilty of it. It may be difficult to balance attribution and self-esteem but in order to achieve growth, you have to acknowledge your own faults. This will allow for clarity and for you to work towards achieving better habits.

4. Don't bottle up your feelings

I am especially guilty of not following this tip. Keeping to yourself may seem like the easier thing to do and, if you are like anything like me, you may hate being seen as an inconvenience. However, I know that if I bottle up for too long, I tend to shut down and then I won't be able to achieve anything. Expressing your feelings is okay. Crying is okay. Anger is okay. Emotion is okay.

5. Try new things

Take a yoga class. Volunteer. Go to a new restaurant. Anything that pushes you out of your comfort zone incubates growth. You don't even have to enjoy everything you do, you just have to try. However, you may also find a new passion because of it.

6. Get some sleep

Don't spend all your time sleeping and lose all motivation to do anything, but make a conscious effort to get sufficient sleep so that all of your days can be as efficient as possible. You will be more energized and your immune system, as well as your physical appearance, will thank you.

7. Don't force yourself to do things you don't like

I know I said to try new things. However, if your best friend loves running and you go with her one day and find out you HATE it, don't force yourself. Find what works for you through trial and error. You will be much happier with your own flow and it keeps you from developing resentment.

8. Learn to say no

All the women in my life are especially guilty of this. We spread ourselves too thin because we can't say no. This goes hand in hand with not forcing yourself to do things that you don't want to do. Saying no doesn't make you a bitch, it makes you strong and lets people know that you know what you want.

9. Say what you mean

Don't sugarcoat things. It will leave you feeling unfulfilled and, quite frankly, it's exhausting trying to tiptoe around what you really mean. Don't be rude or aggressive, rather assertive and straight forward. It will make you a better communicator and will take pressure off of you as well.

10. Finally, treat yourself

I said self care wasn't entirely about that. I didn't say it wasn't necessary.

Related Content

Facebook Comments